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[Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history

The dopamine rush of solving a problem together is not so much transcending biology as just kind of living up to it. That was fun.
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of mike cole [mcole@ucsd.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:53 PM
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history

Bingo! I was not hallucinating!
Thanks a lot Jesica and Andy- I was just thumbing through my hardcopy and
stopped to send an email.

Do we interpret this as a belief that humans have transcended biological
evolution? Its in our capable hands now that we are no longer just apes.



On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 7:41 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Jessica refers to:
>    "Indeed, the struggle for existence and natural selection, the two
>    driving forces of biological evolution within the animal world, lose
>    their decisive importance as soon as we pass on to the historical
>    development of man. New laws, which regulate the course of human
>    history and which cover the entire process of the material and
>    mental development of human society, now take their place."
> Andy
> PS, I am not the translator, Jessica, just the transcriber.  René van der
> Veer and Jaan Valsiner did all the work, and I just scanned it to HTML.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> Kindred, Jessica Dr. wrote:
>> Mike, your paraphrased is very clearly ststed in Vygotsky's essay, The
>> Socialist Alteration of Man, especially in the second through fifth
>> paragraphs. I think this may be the source of the phrase you are looking
>> for, though clearly Vygotsky is riffing on Engels.
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-l-bounces+jkindred=cnr.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> [xmca-l-bounces+jkindred=cnr.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Andy
>> Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
>> Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:23 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Cc: Mikhail Munipov
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history
>> Actually, I think that "the more that human beings become removed from
>> animals in the narrower sense of the word, the more they make their own
>> history consciously" is near as dammit what you are looking for.
>> Engels of course lacked good information. Even in his day Vygotsky had
>> poor information. In "Ape, Primitive Man and Child", "primitive" is
>> taken to mean "non-literate", as it was for Luria in his Central Asian
>> expedition, and a great deal of emphasis is put on the origins and
>> development of *writing*. But writing only appears in Egypt c. 2,000 BCE
>> I think, in any case, in evolutionary time scales 5 minutes ago. The
>> development of writing is nothing to do with evolution of the species.
>> Vygotsky defines primitive man as follows:
>>     “This term is commonly used, admittedly as a conventional label, to
>>     designate certain peoples of the uncivilized world, situated at the
>>     lower levels of cultural development. It is not entirely right to
>>     call these peoples primitive, as a greater or lesser degree of
>>     civilization can unquestionably be observed in all of them. All of
>>     them have already emerged from the prehistoric phase of human
>>     existence. Some of them have very ancient traditions. Some of them
>>     have been influenced by remote and powerful cultures, while the
>>     cultural development of others has become degraded.
>>     “/Primitive man, in the true sense of the term, does not exist
>>     anywhere at the present time, /and the human type, as represented
>>     among these primeval peoples, can only be called “relatively
>>     primitive.” Primitiveness in this sense is a lower level, and the
>>     starting point for the historical development of human behaviour.
>>     Material for the psychology of primitive man is provided by data
>>     concerning prehistoric man, the peoples situated at the lower levels
>>     of cultural development and the comparative psychology of peoples of
>>     different cultures.”(Preface, 1930, Italics in the original)
>> And from the start, this chapter is framed as "cultural development" as
>> distinct from "evolutionary development." Chapter 1 on primates focuses
>> on the limited use of tools possible for apes, with the implication that
>> the cultural development around the emergence of labour, i.e., the
>> production of tools, was part of evolutionary development, prior and
>> leading up to the formation of homo sapiens sapiens. There is no chapter
>> covering the period between 2 million years ago and say `00,000 years
>> ago, where cultural and biological formation are interacting.
>> According to Engels and others including Dewey, speech emerges
>> simultaneously with tools. Dewey makes the point that a tool is not a
>> tool until its use is institutionalised, linking social, symbolic and
>> tool-using activity together.
>> Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> mike cole wrote:
>>> So perhaps its just my bad memory, Andy. the issues remain central.
>>> THANKS for the appropriate links!
>>> mike
>>> On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 4:51 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>     There can only be two sources of this idea: Engels' "Part Played
>>>     by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man" (1876)
>>>     http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1876/part-
>>> played-labour/index.htm
>>>     and the Introduction to "Dialectics of Nature" (1883)
>>>     http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch01.htm
>>>     In the latter work, after explaining how freeing the hands by
>>>     adopting an erect gait, led to the use of tools, meaning labour,
>>>     and this led to the expansion of the brain, language and sundry
>>>     other changes, and thus eventualy the emergence of human beings as
>>>     a species. Then he says:
>>>        "With men we enter /history/."
>>>     In the earlier document, he says: "Labour begins with the making
>>>     of tools" which Engels claims happened before the formation of
>>>     modern homo sapiens, contributing to that formation rather than
>>>     being a product of the formation of modern humans, and he narrates
>>>     a story which continues from this point up to socialist revolution
>>>     as if it were one continuous story, blurring over the distinction
>>>     between evolution of the species and historical development of
>>>     culture.
>>>     The nerest we come to your quote is: "the more that human beings
>>>     become removed from animals in the narrower sense of the word, the
>>>     more they make their own history consciously." The "narrower
>>>     sense" I presume means biological differentiation. So this could
>>>     count for what you are looking for, Mike.
>>>     Andy
>>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> ------------
>>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>     mike cole wrote:
>>>         Dear Colleagues--
>>>         I seem to recall reading an idea, that I recall being
>>>         attributed to Engels,
>>>         that (rooughly) "more and more the laws of evolution are being
>>>         replaced by
>>>         the laws of history."
>>>         Can anyone enlighten me either as to the source of this
>>>         "quotation" or as
>>>         to the source of my own confusion in this regard?
>>>         mike
>>> --
>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an
>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch.